How Often Do Christmas Cactus Bloom? Flowering Cycle Explained

The Christmas cactus is popular for its beautifully segmented stems and colorful flowers that form during winter. The cactus comes in different variations that bloom in shades of pink, red, purple, orange, and white.

If you just bought or gifted a Christmas cactus, perhaps you are wondering, how often does it bloom?

The Christmas cactus blooms yearly during winter, typically around the Christmas season. Under the right care and conditions, the cactus may bloom multiple times a year but with less vigor.

To get your holiday cactus to bloom again, place the plant in a cool room and provide between 14-16 hours of uninterrupted darkness and 8 hours of daylight for six to eight weeks.

Once the flower buds open, place the plant in a place with indirect sunlight and gradually increase watering. If Christmas cactus buds are falling off, it is likely due to a temperature change, insufficient watering, or low humidity levels.

How often do Christmas cactus bloom

Christmas cactus Blooming in Spring

Forcing a Christmas cactus to re-bloom is usually not a good idea. Once the Christmas bloom has ended, this plant needs some rest just before entering the growth stage, where new stems and leaves are formed.

This growth session is important for the plant’s health and flowering. The cactus can store enough energy that will be used to form flower buds.

The Easter cactus is a perfect choice if you need to add beautiful and vibrant colors to your Easter decor. This type of holiday cactus looks much similar to its cousin, the Christmas cactus, but it blooms in spring.

One way to tell the difference between the two is by the shape of the leaves. Easter Cacti have more rounded and scalloped edges, while Christmas Cacti have more pointed and barbed edges.

It’s important to note that while Easter Cactus requires a rest period and shorter daylight hours to bloom, it doesn’t need complete darkness.

To encourage blooming, reduce watering and stop fertilizing your Easter Cactus for several weeks in the fall. During this time, keep the plant in a cooler place, with around 55˚F, and ensure its getting shorter daylight hours (10-12 hours).

The Easter cactus

What to know about Christmas cactus

Christmas cacti (Schlumbergera bridgesii) are native to Brazil’s tropical and subtropical regions, where they grow in shady, humid forests.

They are typically epiphytes – live above the ground on tree branches as they thrive on moisture in the air and nutrients from decomposing leaves and tree barks. As a house plant, you’ll need to meet its fertilizer needs.

Although a cactus, these plant does not possess the same characteristics as their desert counterparts. They prefer a rich, organic potting mix that is constantly moist and not soggy. Excess moisture in the soil typically makes their roots rot.

Christmas cactus prefers bright, indirect light. You can place the plant on the window seal if the spot doesn’t receive direct sunlight. It’s common for this plant to shrivel or discolor when exposed to direct sunlight.

Since Christmas cacti are adapted to warm, humid conditions, humidity around your holiday cactus should be maintained above 50 percent. Average household temperatures are ideal for a Christmas cactus plant, ideally between 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

Christmas cactus post-blooming care

Post-blooming care is very important for the recovery of a Christmas cactus. You need to do a few things for the plant to give you more flowers in the upcoming bloom.

Prune your cactus when blooming completely ends to remove the dead materials. You may do it as soon as you realize new growths on the plant. Pruning a cactus helps it to grow fuller, resulting in more blooms in the future.

You may use the cutting to propagate the Christmas cactus for more plants to add to your collection or gift to your friends or family.

The cuttings should take only a few days to establish if you used the right potting media. Once they root, treat them as mature cactus plants and provide the necessary care accordingly.

Further, this will be the best time to repot your Christmas cactus if you haven’t in the last 3 or 4 years. The fresh potting soil has more nutrients to make your holiday cactus grow healthier. Be sure to use a slightly larger pot than the existing one.

Final Thought

The Christmas cactus has low maintenance needs as compared to most houseplants. This short-day plant blooms in winter but can be encouraged to re-bloom in spring. I recommend you go for Easter cactus for mid-year color, especially during the Easter holiday.


  1. N.C. Cooperative Extension: Christmas Cactus Care
  2. Iowa State University, Is it a Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter Cactus?
  3. Royal Horticultural Society (RHS): Christmas cactus

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